Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations

Tripoto
22nd Sep 2014
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

The streets of Istanbul

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Beautiful window of a house

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Hagia Sophia mosque

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Somya in front of the Blue Mosque

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Before the musical parade

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Entrance to a cafe

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Just another street

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

In love with the cats of Istanbul

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Basilica Cistern

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

The inverted head of Medusa

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Grand Bazaar

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Last day in Istanbul

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Sea coast in Izmir

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Exploring Efes

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Life growing from midst of the dead

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Efes stadium

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

An ancient building

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Ancient library

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Theatre in Pamukkale

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Pamukkale springs

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

prince's island

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

a pretty entrance

Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Backpacking to Turkey's best destinations by Trisha Mahajan

Two sisters on a backpacking trip to Turkey

I chose to make my second international trip and my first independent trip to Turkey. When my cousin, who is a year younger to me (I am 24), and I told our parents about our plan, they were a little unconvinced. They did not understand at first why we didn’t choose a more touristy tour like a Euro trip. But, we explained to them why Turkey had attracted us so much. We wanted to go to a country in a different part of the world offering us a lot of touristic places to see, having a rich cultural and historical background and being a modern hub for travelers at the same time. Yet, we did not want to spend more than a hundred thousand rupees on our trip. As I sit here to write about my trip, I can gladly say that Turkey was exactly what we had wanted it to be. In fact, it was way better than that.

My sister, Somya, and I did not take the services of any travel agency and did not buy any tour package for our trip. We both agreed that it was worthless to be bound by tours provided by agencies after spending a humongous amount of our hard-earned money on their clichéd, overused and abused itineraries. We made our own itinerary with inputs from our acquaintances who had travelled to Turkey, and the help of several travel sites. We decided to go to five beautiful cities in Turkey – Istanbul, Ephesus, Pammukale, Antalya and Cappadocia. Coincidence is that our host in Pamukkale informed us that this is the most popular travel route for travelers coming to Turkey. So after days of research and planning, my sister and I finally booked our flight tickets and accommodations. We did not want to stay everywhere in hotels as we wanted to meet Turkish people and experience their lifestyle. So we used AIRBNB to book bed and breakfast accommodations. BNB is a popular way for travelers to stay in the homes or apartments of locals. We chose the houses with the best reviews that were in our budget. However, in Antalya we booked a nice beach-facing hotel and in Pamukkale and Cappadocia we booked cheap hotels. We decided to fly Emirates because we wanted to make a short trip to Dubai. Finally, we came up with a 20-day-trip. We kept 14 days for Turkey and the rest of the five days for Dubai.

Finally, after months of waiting excitedly, the week of our trip arrived. We were flying to Turkey on September 22. I bought a 40 litres backpack thinking it would save me the trouble of dragging along a suitcase on a backpacking trip. Turned out, I had never been so wrong.

A day before our trip we came to know of a big goof up we had made. It so happened that to visit our second stop, the ancient city of Ephesus, we had booked a BNB in the month of August instead of September and amusingly, we never cross-checked. Neither did the man who gave us a visa. Therefore, we had lost around 6000 rupees already. Nevertheless, we booked another BNB in Izmir. Izmir is the third largest city of Turkey and is at a distance of one-and-a-half hours (from train) from Ephesus. Finally, we were all packed and stuffed and as we went to bed that night, we could barely sleep due to the excitement and a little nervousness.

TURKEY!!!                                                               

So, the day was finally here. We had an 11 ‘o’ clock flight from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. We woke up early and were already on our way at seven. At 11 our awesome flight took off, and we were thrilled as hell. After a short stopover at Dubai airport, we were in another Emirates flight, which was way better than the one from India to Dubai. And boom! Here we were.

Istanbul - Day 1 We reached the airport at around 5 in the evening. Honestly, our experience at the airport was not very good as we had to wait in taxingly long queues at the Visa check department. We also had to get our Euros exchanged to Turkish Liras because we couldn’t find any Exchange shops in Delhi which kept TLs. So till the time we got out of the airport at Istanbul, it was dark and the only thing we had was our host’s address. After some inquiry, we took the shuttle bus from Airport to Taksim (the most happening area of Istanbul). From there we walked some metres to the Taksim square. My shoulders had already started hurting with the 12 kilos of backpack I was carrying. Our host had told us to take a direct bus from Taksim square. We didn’t want to rent a cab as were cutting down on costs everywhere. However, on our failure to find that bus, we finally found a nice cab driver who ensured that we reached the home of our host safely. Finally, we were home! Our host Ada, a single woman in her early 30s, was waiting for us on the street and welcomed us warmly into her home. And guess who welcomed us inside her house. Her pet cat rubbed itself on us fondly as we entered our room. The room was neat, peaceful and cozy. Ada provided us some details about getting around the city and then left us to rest. That night we were too tired to go anywhere even though we wanted to go out for dinner. My sister Somya was in love with the interiors of the house and expressed her wish to have a house exactly like that. That night, partially due to the soft bed and partially due to our tiredness, we had the most comfortable sleep in a long time. Day 2 – Istanbul The next day we cooked our ready-to-eat breakfast and headed out. We discovered that we were living in a very lively and rather popular area called Besiktas (read Beshiktash). We walked downhill to the bus stand. Istanbul, and in fact most of Turkey, is hilly. We took a bus to the nearest tram station and then boarded a tram to Sultan Ahmet, where most of the tourist spots are located. We visited the beautiful Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia mosque. Both the mosques were facing each other and the site was splendid. We were lucky enough to catch a local musical band playing in front of Hagia Sophia. We were already hungry so we decided to have lunch. Across the road was a street full of expensive restaurants and bakeries. The street was bustling with tourists and the waiters of the restaurants were calling out to them, some even trying to flirt with girls not accompanied by men. And one thing I learned through these men and many others like them during those 15 days – people of Turkey cannot speak anything but Turkish (not even English) but they love Bollywood. And I either look Indian or Turkish. Anyways, we grabbed the famous Turkish Doner Kebabs, and trust me when I say, I have never tasted or enjoyed chicken and meat so much in my life like on my complete trip to Turkey. The Doner Kebab role was delicious and cheap. Infact, some tourists came to us asking where we got them when we were sitting near the mosques enjoying our heavy meal. After fooling around a little, we went to see the much-renowned Basilica Cistern located at walking distance. Basilica Cistern is an underground water storage system built to provide water to the residents of Istanbul in the 6th century. The entry ticket to the Cistern cost us around 600 INR. It was dingy and dark and I found it really fascinating. Somya didn’t like it much though. There even was an inverted head of Medusa lying in one of the ponds. The head has a long history behind it. We came out of the place in around 20 minutes after clicking some dark pictures. After that, we took the tram to the popular Grand Bazaar of Istanbul. It was much like the Sarojini Nagar Market of Delhi or Fashion Street Market of Mumbai, the only difference being that it was covered and much prettier. We reserved the shopping for the last day and went back to Besiktas after around 2-3 hours of inspecting the market. There we had dinner at a nice restaurant, which had good ambience but served pathetic Pasta. When I ordered that Pasta, the waitress said to me, “our customers don’t like it because it is very spicy. So I wouldn’t recommend it.” To which I gave a very stereotypical reply, “I am an Indian. I can handle spicy.” However, she came back with Pasta which was nowhere near spicy. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our dinner and went back home tired and happy. Not to forget, we also bought a Vodafone SIM card, which cost us around 1500 INR (the SIM alone). Day 3 – Istanbul Our next day started a little late as we were busy uploading our pictures on Facebook. We left at around 12 noon and went to take a cruise in the Bosphorous River. For those of you who don’t know, Istanbul lies both in Asia and Europe and Bosphorous River connects the two continents. The government cruise cost each of us around 350 INR for two hours. Before getting onto the cruise, which was to start at 2 pm, we roamed around a river-side lane which was full of restaurants serving seafood. The waiters of those restaurants were extremely playful and one even asked me to click his picture and save it for memory. Following that, Somya and I took some more pictures of the surroundings and then headed towards the cruise. We took seats on the top floor of the cruise so that we could have a better view of the city. The cruise took us through beautiful monuments and we cruised alongside stunning localities and we were in complete awe of the city that lie on the sides of the River. It was a little chilly that day so it got uncomfortable after a while and also bored but that cruise is the perfect place for someone who wants to sit and relax. Ice cream vendors and Turkish Chai and Coffee vendors came hawking every few minutes. And we saw so many Jelly Fish in the river. After finally coming back to the shore, we had lunch near the Galata Towers and then went to see the towers which looked like Rapunzel’s castle to me. We waited in a long queue to get inside and after spending 600 INR each we were standing in a lift opening straight into a restaurant made inside the tower. The tower was initially a light house and tourists stood in the gallery taking pictures and stepping over each other in an attempt to pass or stand there and take more pictures. The scene was all in all funny. But as the sun set and the sky became orange and then dark blue and finally black covered in white twinkling stars and the city lit up with twinkling lights, I was mesmerized. What a beauty it was! I stood there adoring the city for sometime before finally being troubled by people trying to click pictures and then went back inside. It was dark when we reached home and we were too tired to eat out so we cooked maggi for dinner that night. We went to bed quite sad about having to leave Istanbul the next day. We had grown fond of Istanbul’s culture, liveliness, friendly people and pretty faces.
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey, by Trisha Mahajan
Day 4 – Izmir Somya and I had booked a low cost flight from Istanbul to Izmir because the distance between the two places is around 564 kilometres and a bus would cost us approximately 1600 INR. The flight cost us 2100 INR and it was more convenient for us to pay 500 Rupees more and save some time. Our flight arrived in Izmir at 2 pm and from there till our BNB we had been suggested to take a local bus straight from the airport. After collecting our baggage and completing all formalities, we reached the bus stop (called otobus duragi in Turkish) at 3 pm and were finally able to catch a 4 ‘o’ clock bus. Our house was at walking distance from the bus stop. In the bus, I made friends with a German man who was going to Iraq. He could hardly speak English but was trying his best to talk to me. Somya and I talked to an American girl who was on a solo trip to Turkey. After Turkey, she was going to Greece for rafting. On such trips do we realize how important it is for us to meet people from across the globe to know and be inspired by their stories. I could have never really thought of taking a solo trip but listening to such adventurous stories I am planning my next trip alone. So, we got down at our bus stop and walked towards our house. Our host Ozlem, who was living in another house, was already waiting for us there. Ozlem was a very friendly man and when we entered the house, we were pleasantly surprised to see how pretty it was. We were overjoyed when we discovered that we were the only people who would be occupying that 2 BHK for the next two days. We had chosen the room with bunk beds and it was just amazing. The kitchen, the drawing room and the balcony were remarkable. And guess what, we were the first guests in that BNB! So we were treated in the best way possible. There were chocolates waiting for us on our beds. Fresh fruits, juices and other eatables were kept for us in the fridge. We were so excited that we started thanking Ozlem hysterically. Ozlem also had maps ready for us and gave us an idea of what spots to visit in the city. We were not very keen on exploring Izmir as it had nothing much to offer but still we went out to spend the evening. We had planned to visit Ephesus the next day. By now we were extremely hungry so first we found a place to eat. I can confidently say that food in Turkey is very cheap. We luckily found a place where I had a whole pizza meal including a personal meat pizza, two chicken pieces, a large plate of fries, and unlimited soft drink for 350 INR. Yes, you read it right! 350 INR (including taxes, if they have any). Full and happy, we walked towards the main road, which was on side of the sea. We walked a few kilometers on the road adjoining the sea. We enjoyed the sun beautifully setting at the horizon and then decided to go to the nearby market. When we asked a man the way to that market pointing towards the map, he literally took us there and offered us street food and cigarettes on the way. We were initially skeptical about his intentions, but when we reached the destination, he simply shook our hands and left. Such are the people of Turkey! I bought a denim jacket, which is the trendiest cloth there and boarded a bus back to our bus stand. After the bus driver gestured to us that there were many stops by the name of the stop we were taking, we realized we were lost. But then again the hospitality of the people didn’t betray us and we were back home safely, eating and dancing all on our own.
Photo of İzmir, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İzmir, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İzmir, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İzmir, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Day 5 – Ephesus I am a history lover and this was probably one of the days I was looking forward to the most. Ephesus, or Efes, was the ancient Greek city and is said to be built in the 10th century BC. It later fell into Roman influence and came under Roman Empire. The city was completely destroyed and abandoned in 14th century AD and all that lies there now is the ruins. We took a public train from Izmir to Selcuk and reached in about one and a half hours. From there we boarded a minibus to Ephesus and reached our destination in around 15-20 minutes. The entry ticket to the ancient city cost us around 1500 INR. Honestly, Somya and I were a little surprised by the high cost of ticket. But, all of the money was worth it. As we stepped inside, in front of us lay a beautiful town destroyed with time. With every step I took, I could feel history coming to life. On the marble roads I could feel the sound of Tongas and bullock carts that must have been filling the city with life during ancient times. I could imagine people dressed in Roman and Greek attires walking around. To me, each broken and intact stone in that place had come to life. I felt shivers running down my spine. I had never felt history so closely. Not even while visiting the Indian Mughal monuments. Here, history was much older and gripped me with much more intensity. First in line was a stadium and theatre (teatro). While walking towards the stadium I observed a huge sewer line and big marble stones broken and randomly placed with inscriptions on them. The stadium was fascinating but not as fascinating as the ancient library. It was huge and I could feel scholars walking there, looking for books and silently sitting and reading. I saw a supposed brothel of the time, which was locked. I managed to steal a glimpse of the rooms inside. We walked for several miles and saw many fascinating structures. Most intriguing was a church of mother Mary. It still had a cross in black made on one of the walls. The church was constructed at a little distance from the main town so there weren’t many tourists at that point so Somya and I had some peaceful moments there. The other side of the church opened to a room which led to a gallery. The gallery was open and faced beautiful green mountains. Strong cold wind blew on my face as I stood on elevated ground looking at the mountains and I stood grasping the moment for a long time before Somya got bored and asked me if we could go. Reluctantly, I left with her and we exited the beautiful city. I took a last look at the city before finally moving on to have a cone of local ice cream. The ice cream was tasteless! We bought some souvenirs from the shops in the vicinity and then boarded a minibus back to Selcuk. On way to the tren estacion (train station), there was a beautiful lane decorated with trees and flowers, which had nice cafes. Old men sat at the cafes and bars playing board games. We chose a café, which had “free wi-fi” written on it. Somya recommended that we eat Ravioli, a famous Turkish Pasta prepared with Yogurt. Now, we did not know that the Pasta had yogurt in it and Somya is allergic to Yogurt. Me being me and being hungry, ordered a separate Ravioli and asked her to order her own. Somya was heartbroken after seeing her Ravioli and decided to stay hungry in order to not spend any more money. I, on the other hand, had to finish two Raviolis and ended up feeling sick. Nevertheless, the Ravioli was tasty but it was not something I could eat a large portion of. Finally, we boarded a train back to Izmir and while on our way back from the metro station to our house, we lost our way. And it started raining and had gotten quite cold. But, we were still feeling happy as we had thoroughly enjoyed our last day in Izmir. We did not even want to leave our pretty little abode.
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Day 6 – Pamukkale We relaxed a little the next day and only boarded the 3 pm train from the same station to Denizli, which was supposed to reach in 3 and half hours. There I realized we unnecessarily curse the Indian railways to be the most unpunctual. The public train there was the same, taking around five hours to complete the journey. It was already dark when we reached the province and was drizzling too. We were supposed to take a bus from Denizli to Pamukkale. When we reached Pamukkale, it was dark, deserted and raining. We had a lot of luggage and we didn’t know the way to our hotel. We were scared and hungry but somehow stuck together and reached our hotel. I would call that place a lodge rather than a hotel. The rooms were small and claustrophobic and the bathroom door wouldn’t shut. The place looked more like a backpacker’s stop. After living in two very comfortable houses, we were disappointed here but had no option also. I was hungry and cold. Even though it was raining and dark, I asked some guests at the lodge for nearby eating joints. After they assured us that it was safe to go out, we went looking for the restaurants. We found one, a small one, and it was almost closed. The owner was playing a board game with an old man. He received us warmly and commented that I looked Turkish. I was flattered, knowing how pretty Turkish girls are. I ordered a meat pita, another Turkish cuisine. It is like Turkish Pizza. I did not like it, though. Day 7 – Pamukkale Pamukkale had been my dream destination since I watched the song ‘tu jaane na’ from the Bollywood movie ‘Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani’. Although, back then I didn’t know the location the song was shot in, but I knew I had to go the place once in my life. I was lucky enough to fulfill my dream in about five years. Pammukale is famous for its calcite-laden warm waters creating a cotton-like terrace. It is beautiful to look at and a feast to the eyes. In the morning, we made friends with a Columbian mother and daughter and decided to go sight-seeing together. The daughter was our age and was studying in Germany. The owner of our lodge was kind enough to drop us to the site of the springs. We started by going to see an ancient theatre, and then moved on to see a natural hot water swimming pool or the Cleopatra pool where Cleopatra is said to have bathed. It was a huge pool, but citing the expensive ticket to bathe in it, we chose not to go inside it. The pool even had ancient rocks and at one small side, we could see stairs inside the pool leading to an underground structure closed by fallen pillars. After drinking the medicinal water from the pool, we went on to see the marvelous calcite terraces. Although, they were not as beautiful as captured in the song, yet they were beautiful. The whiteness of the entire area was blinding. It looked like a sheet of snow spread to welcome its visitors with a lot of warmth. We walked through the hot water terraces, and trust me, it was a long walk down. The mountains on the opposite side looked splendid. However, there was not as much water in the terrace-like structures due to the arrival of winters. After our hectic day at the springs, we had a hearty meal and went back to our lodge. There the owner met us, who offered to take us to a nearby village. We went to a house in the village, which had a small plantation and cows. The owner of the house took us to a carpet factory. A lady was weaving the famous Turkish carpets. I felt full with the adventures of the day and after a hearty Ramen for dinner, felt really glad that we had chosen to come to Pamukkale and stay at the lodge we stayed at. There even was a small stray kitten in the lodge which was so affectionate that I decided I would take a cat as a pet someday.
Photo of Pamukkale, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Pamukkale, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Pamukkale, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Pamukkale, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Pamukkale, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Pamukkale, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Pamukkale, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Pamukkale, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Pamukkale, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Pamukkale, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Pamukkale, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Pamukkale, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Pamukkale, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Pamukkale, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Day 8 – Antalya I had a fight with Somya next morning because she was being annoying. We had an early morning bus and she was taking all her time to get dressed and have her breakfast. We boarded a minivan to Denizli and took a bus to Antalya thereon. We reached Antalya around 2 pm, after completing a five-hour long journey. We had booked a luxurious beach-side hotel in Antalya, because we had decided we would spend money in Antalya if we were saving elsewhere. The local bus from the bus station in Antalya to our hotel took around one hour to reach. We finally reached the bus stand next to the beach, exhausted. But the beautiful side of a sea stretching out to touch the hills was enough to help me relax. Our hotel was nice, not as luxurious as we had thought, but we got a beach-facing two-room suite with a huge balcony so we were quite pleased. Oh! The site was awe-inspiring. I have shared a photo for you to see. Till the time we had checked-in, it was getting dark so we decided to go to a nearby mall and see if there are any shacks at the beach for dinner later. The mall was around 2 kilometres and we walked all the way. It was dark when we decided to leave the mall. Antalya was one unsafe city, I must say. Every now and then a car would stop near us, as if we were to get onto it and would leave when we ignored. Somya even saw a man jerking off on the pedestrian. And adding to our list of horrors, we heard a car pass-by and we swear by all the gods of all religions ever created, we heard a girl screaming from the car. We were shaking with fear. We hurried towards the beach and except for darkness, there was nothing at the beach. We ate at a nearby restaurant and rushed back to our hotel. We were extremely put-off as we had heard that Antalya is one city where restaurants are open till 3 in the morning. Where was all of it? We couldn’t find anything. All we saw was a prostitute going away with a truck driver at 10 in the evening. Day 9 – Antalya Our second day in Antalya was not as disappointing as our first day. We went to the beach, had a nice swim in the sea and sun-bathed. I even slept on the beach and woke up to see myself utterly tanned. In the afternoon, Somya forced me to go grab a bite as the scorching sun was burning her skin. We ate at a really, really nice café, ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, recommended by a friend. The location of the café made sense to us now. So, our hotel was a little off the main tourist spot. The party was here! After resting the entire evening in our room, we again went for dinner to BYT and were quite happy with Antalya by now. But, we had realized that Antalya was not a place that we couldn’t give a miss. And we had one full day still left in Antalya and we had no idea what to do with it. Ohh, I forgot to mention about the alteration in our plan. By the end of Antalya I was quite tired and was missing Istanbul terribly. So, I talked Somya into cancelling Cappadocia and going back to Istanbul for the last three days. She agreed because Cappadocia is far from both Antalya and Istanbul and we had to anyways go to Istanbul on our last day to catch our flight. We realized it would become very hectic. Moreover, Cappadocia is famous for its hot air ballooning, which is quite expensive. Now, as backpackers, we weren’t really looking forward to spending over 11,000 INR per person over a hot air balloon session. So, we decided to give it a skip and head back to Istanbul by a night bus. Day 10- Antalya We were clueless about what we would do in Antalya that day. So, keeping in line with our random acts, we boarded a local bus to the city and got off at a travel agency to book a bus back to Istanbul. Then we started walking towards a mall, which Somya had seen on the first day in the beach city while we were going to our hotel. On our way to the mall, we stopped at a small restaurant hidden away in some corner of a street for some cheap Turkish food. We had some mouth-watering meat with the best salad and were hosted by the most polite gentleman. The best thing about Turkish people is they do not understand your language but they will go out of their way to help you and make you feel comfortable. So after the Turkish food, which I miss terribly, we went to the mall. Basically we were just killing our time. We did some window shopping and went back to the travel agency’s office to catch the mini-bus to the bus station. And in no time we were headed back to our favourite city, Istanbul.
Photo of Antalya, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Antalya, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of Antalya, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Day 11, 12 & 13 – Istanbul We reached Istanbul around 10 am and took a minibus to go to our BNB house that we had booked just two days ago. This time we booked a Bed and Breakfast near Taksim square so as to enjoy the nightlife of Istanbul. From the bus stand we took a metro to the area and were received by our host’s friend. We were disgusted at reaching our house. It was pathetic and dingy. There were alcohol bottles all over the place and it was like a small prison cell. We felt stuck and didn’t know what to do. Our host was not present there and we sort of got into an argument with him over messaging. He said we could leave his house and that he would refund our money by cash. We were relieved and looked for the best place we could find immediately. Luckily, we found a place which said it was situated near Taksim and contacted the host. The host informed us that the room was available but he would only be able to receive us after 7 in the evening. We booked and went to Taksim to first get rid of our baggage. We found a baggage locker and deposited our stuff there for the day. Then we wandered on the streets of Istanbul, enjoying the pleasant weather. We even visited one of the many sex shops on the street out of curiosity. We were scandalized after going in and ran out blushing at once. Next, we took a tram to the Spice Market and tasted some heavenly Turkish delights from different shops. We felt the day was well-spent after having those Turkish delights. Our host picked us up from Taksim in a cab and we went to his house. Our host, Mehmet, was as young as we were and his house was located in a posh area of Istanbul. Though, it was nowhere close to Taksim. Anyhow, the house was pretty but unkempt. We laughed it off as we know how careless guys can be. Next day we took a cruise to the prince’s islands and got down at the last island. It was a beautiful little island, with nice, small restaurants, cafes and shops, and pretty little houses. Motor vehicles were not allowed there so, Tongas and bicycles were the only mode of transport. We rented a bicycle and moved around the island. In the evening, we went club hopping with Mehmet to Taksim square after drinking a couple of beers at the house. After dancing for hours at stretch, we finally asked our host to take us back home at 3 in the morning. He was surprised to know we wanted to leave so early. We were surprised he called it early. We were further surprised when we came out of the club at 3 and saw that amount of crowd on the street and vendors and hawkers sitting on the roadside. Some shops and restaurants were also open. Mehmet told us the city only goes to sleep after 6 in the morning. Belonging to Delhi, we weren’t used to that kind of lifestyle so we came back and dozed off immediately. We were quite upset the next morning as it was our only full day in Turkey left. We were amazed as to how quickly time had passed. We had kept our last day primarily for shopping but the main markets of Grand Bazaar and Spice Market were closed that day due to Eid. So, we boarded the tram and evaluated which were the markets that were open and went shopping wherever we could find an open shop. That was the only day we saw some Indians in Turkey due to the Gandhi Jayanti holidays back home. We also saw some Indian restaurants. We shopped for some really amazing stuff. If you ever go to Turkey, do not forget to buy the Turkish flavoured teas and tea cups. We also bought some souvenirs, scented soaps, and other exquisite stuff. So, our day finally came to an end and with a heavy heart, we were all set to leave for Dubai the following day.
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
Photo of İstanbul, Turkey by Trisha Mahajan
13 Comment(s)
Sort by:
Hi..really liked reading your blog. I have few questions.. I am just thinking to go solo and my budget is somewhere between 70k (max I can exceed it to 90 k.) Is it enough? My trip would not be more than a week and want to visit 3 places - Istanbul, Pammukale & Atalya.
Sat 11 18 17, 06:35 · Reply · Report
Hi Trisha, Will it better to take Turkish Lira or Euro from India? I was reading mixed reviews that it is better to take Euro from India and then get it converted there because it is difficult to get Turkish Lira in India. Thanks, Siddhant
Sun 09 04 16, 09:40 · Reply (1) · Report
Hi, we took both Liras and Euros from India, but mainly Liras. Yes, it is difficult but I am from Delhi and I found a small shop in CP, inner circle. It is definitely more convenient to take TL
Tue 09 05 17, 01:26 · Report
Hello Trisha, thank you for writing your experience. I've got a shape for my travel plan to Turkey now. Also how much did one person's up n down air ticket cost from Delhi to Istanbul when you booked.. reason i ask.. is I am planning to have a fixed backpacker's budget exclusive of travel. thank you for your time. Shall connect for more info if need be. keep sharing your travel :)
Thu 08 18 16, 13:54 · Reply (1) · Report
It cost us 45K per person since we were travelling Emirates and we had a 4 day halt in Dubai. Otherwise, the cheapest ticket was 30k and Turkish Airlines was 36k. Turkish Airlines is a pretty good flight.
Tue 09 05 17, 01:28 · Report
Turkey always calls you back
Fri 08 05 16, 14:04 · Reply (1) · Report
Thanks for sharing, Deepika. Will definitely do that if I get a chance to visit again.
Tue 09 05 17, 01:28 · Report
And how much does your tour trip cost you?
Fri 06 24 16, 03:44 · Reply · Report
Show More Comments